Mavericks ready to chase their dreams

May. 21, 2013 @ 05:27 PM

It’s important to invest as much as possible in your dreams, Middle College High School senior Eeyi Oon told her classmates on Friday afternoon.

“One day, we’ll all wake up and be 30,” she said. “It sounds terrible, but it’s true.”

If graduates don’t do everything they can to pursue their dreams, they may have to cope with regrets and “wonder what we did with our lives.”

Oon, one of about 60 students graduating during commencement in N.C. Central University’s gymnasium, is part of a remarkable class.
Charles Nolan, principal of the non-traditional high school, said that the Class of 2013 “is among the highest-achieving since the school opened in 2005, and that’s saying something.”

The school is a partnership between Durham Public Schools, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Orange County Schools and Durham Technical Community College.

Students ran the commencement ceremony, providing their own keynote speeches through a contest in which they wrote about what it takes to be a maverick – the mascot of their program.
“Create your own dreams,” said Oon, who earned a $52,109 grant for her first year at Duke University. “And achieve them or, in failing to achieve them, fail gloriously.”

Emily Hopfenberg, a senior who’s departing for the University of Florida with a $30,000 scholarship, thanked teachers and administrators for expecting students at Middle College High to act like responsible adults.

“Because they have high expectations, we’ll be more likely to fulfill them for the rest of our lives,” Hopfenberg said.

Students at Middle College High already are mavericks because they’ve chosen to pursue the challenge of a non-traditional high school, she said. “We’re not just cookie-cutter kids.”